Ping Pong (Nectar Soda)
Beverages

Ping Pong (Nectar Soda)

The origin of the name “ping pong” is unknown, but in the riverlands between New Orleans and Baton Rouge many people know what it is: a pink, frozen drink that has the flavor of nectar. Nectar, in turn, is universally recognized among Orleanians as a distinctive flavor, a blend of almond and vanilla. Nectar was one of the most popular flavors for ice cream sodas in the days when drugstores still made such things. Now nectar as an essential flavor in the vast arrays of syrups poured over finely-shaved ice for sno-balls. Read More. . .

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Strawberry Shortcakes

RecipeSquare-150x150 A true shortcake is not the sponge cake that’s typically used for this famous old dessert, but something a lot like a drop biscuit. We make these all the time, and it’s an essential for our Easter parties. Read entire article.

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Pear Clafoutis

RecipeSquare-150x150 A clafoutis uses a runny version of Belgian waffle batter as a matrix for fruit–classically, cherries. But you can make it with anything sweet, and few fruits would make this more appealing than ripe pears. When you make this recipe, use more pear than you think you’ll need. And although the pan will seem to contain too much batter, go with it–it won’t run over. Recipe details. . .

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Genoise (Sponge Layer Cake)

This is the basic cake to use for light layered cakes, from the late, brilliant baker Lonnie Knisley. To make it chocolate, add a half cup of cocoa powder. Read More. . .

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Tres Leches Cake

500BestSquare Tres leches cake will come to you for the first time in some kind of Hispanic restaurant. With luck, it will be in a Central American or Cuban place. For some reason, they seem to understand the concept better. It consists of a layer or two of very moist (almost wet) yellow cake. Between the layers is a fluffy filling made with three kinds of milk: fresh, condensed and evaporated. Read entire article.

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Bread Pudding Alaska
Desserts

Bread Pudding Alaska

Bread Pudding Alaska I may be overzealous in my pursuit of great bread pudding. Certainly people from other parts of America than New Orleans will think so, because bread pudding is generally thought of (with good reason, too) as a poor person’s dessert. But the rich New Orleans bread pudding is a thing apart. That’s why even the most expensive restaurants in town serve it. Lots of eggs, cream, and cinnamon make it wonderful. The cook makes it different; the variety of sauces, fruits, and flavorings add the personal touch….

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LeRuth’s Back Door Pecan Pie
Cakes, Pies, Cheesecakes

LeRuth’s Back Door Pecan Pie

RecipeSquare-150x150 Warren Leruth didn’t publish many of his recipes, and fewer still were for dishes he served at the restaurant. The pecan pie was one of the “back door” recipes in his Front Door, Back Door cookbook, a little collection he put out in the 1970s. Recipe details. . .

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Devil’s Food Cake
Bakery

Devil’s Food Cake

Here’s my devil’s food cake. It may be a lot different from yours–fluffier, for one thing. I am not claiming to be a better baker than you. Just different. By the way, what makes the difference between devils food and just plain chocolate? It’s the red food coloring. Read More. . .

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Pineapple Au Poivre
Fruit Desserts

Pineapple Au Poivre

Slices of pineapple seared in butter, flamed in spirits, with a thickening, sweet sauce riddled with green peppercorns. Surprisingly, the dish this most resembled in flavor is bananas Foster. But it was a long way even from that. It is much better than it sounds. Read More. . .

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Chocolate and Cafe Au Lait Mousse
Chocolate

Chocolate and Cafe Au Lait Mousse

I’ve long been fascinated by the cocoa-like flavors I get from the intense New Orleans-style coffee and chicory I drink every morning. I thought it might be interesting to make chocolate mousse with an admixture of some of my coffee, and it was. (Good, too.) To make good chocolate mousse, understand that it’s mainly chocolate and whipped cream, plus something to get the two to come together. It’s best right after being made; the frothy texture disappears after it’s refrigerated. Read More. . .

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Cannoli
Cakes, Pies, Cheesecakes

Cannoli

Cannoli Cannoli are a favorite dessert in Sicily, and anywhere Sicilians have roamed–including New Orleans. They’re made by stuffing tubes of sweet, thin dough fried until crispy with sweetened ricotta cheese, usually including jellied fruit, chocolate chips, and pistachio nuts. They are made outstandingly well at Angelo Brocato’s in New Orleans. This recipe is based on the one in La Cucina di Andrea’s, a cookbook I wrote in 1989 with Chef Andrea Apuzzo. The shells are the hard part, but not too bad. While special forms are made for making…

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Brandied Fruit Thaïs
Fruit Desserts

Brandied Fruit Thaïs

When Brennan’s invented bananas Foster and got everybody talking about it, other restaurants reacted in two ways. First, they came up with new flaming fruit desserts with ice cream. Later, they just began serving bananas Foster. If a restaurant did both things, the dessert in step one often disappeared. That happened to this great creation of the Pontchartrain Hotel’s Caribbean Room. It’s a collection of juicy fruits (and bananas), sprinkled with brown sugar and flamed with brandy. The added touch of topping it with crumbled macaroon cookies and almonds made it both unique and spectacular. I think the problem with it was that it was too big to serve at just one table, and it wound up in the C-Room’s banquet repertoire. Read More. . .

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Mile-High Ice Cream Pie
Cakes, Pies, Cheesecakes

Mile-High Ice Cream Pie

Mile-High Ice Cream Pie The famous dessert at the Caribbean Room of the Pontchartrain Hotel was really very simple: three kinds of ice cream layered under a thick crown of meringue. Nobody notes that it’s an extravagant variation on baked Alaska. You do indeed bake it, ice cream and all. One slice is enough for two people–if they can finish it. The Caribbean Room made its own chocolate sauce, and that was a big part of the goodness of the dessert. The trouble with making it the way the Pontchartrain…

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Lemon Curd Cookies
Cookies, Bars, Brownies

Lemon Curd Cookies

Lemon Curd Cookies Lemon curd is something we rarely encounter outside of afternoon tea and other veddy British occasions. It’s a spread for cookies, scones and the like, made by cooking butter and egg yolks with sugar and lemon juice and stirring until very thick. It’s available in jars, but it’s much better homemade. (Fortunately, you can make it a day or two ahead and refrigerate it.) Here’s how to do that, along with a recipe for some light cookies that are wonderful in the summer. Lemon curd: 3/4 cup…

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Flourless Almond And Chocolate Cake
Cakes, Pies, Cheesecakes

Flourless Almond And Chocolate Cake

RecipeSquare-150x150 This is called torta di mandorle in Italy, from which it comes–through the hands of Chef Andrea Apuzzo and his talented, late pastry chef Lonnie Knisley. It’s not only a good dessert, but makes a marvelous breakfast. It’s so light and goes down so easily that you may as well make two of them at once. This recipe is adapted from the one in La Cucina di Andrea’s, which I wrote with Chef Andrea in 1989. Read entire article.

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One-Two-Three-Four Cake
Desserts

One-Two-Three-Four Cake

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RecipeSquare-150x150 This is the simplest cake recipe of them all. One cup butter, two cups sugar, three cups flour, four eggs–hence the name. Just measure everything exactly (scraping off the tops of cups of flour and spoons of baking powder, for example), and have patience and faith in the recipe. I recommend Swans Down cake flour, made by a New Orleans company. By the way, this mix makes fine cupcakes. An dif you have the shell-shaped molds, you can use this formula to make madeleines. Have one with a cup of tea and you’ll start remembering weird things in your previous life

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Bourbon Whiskey Sauce for Bread Pudding
Desserts

Bourbon Whiskey Sauce for Bread Pudding

Bourbon Whiskey Sauce for Bread Pudding The best sauces for bread pudding are those that amount to a combination of the after-dinner drink with the dessert. Such a sauce is common in in restaurants, but it’s not often made at home. It’s easy enough to make, however. You can substitute rum or brandy for the whiskey if you like, or perhaps even vanilla if you’d prefer it to be non-alcoholic (although know that most vanilla does contain alcohol). 1 stick unsalted butter 1 cup sugar 1 large egg 1 Tbs….

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Heavenly Hash (New Orleans Style)
Chocolate

Heavenly Hash (New Orleans Style)

Heavenly Hash (New Orleans Style) The words “heavenly hash” mean only one thing in New Orleans: a chocolate-and-marshmallow candy, studded with almonds, sold in big chunks in the old department stores. (And still, in a more mainstream form, by the local Elmer’s Candy Company.) There’s really not much to making your own. Just be careful melting the chocolate. 24 oz. semi-sweet chocolate 1 cup whole pecans, almonds, walnuts, or all three 1 overflowing cup miniature marshmallows 1. Melt the chocolate in a microwave oven at 60 percent power in one-minute…

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Creme Anglaise (Custard Sauce)
Desserts: Bread Pudding, Custards

Creme Anglaise (Custard Sauce)

Creme Anglaise (Custard Sauce) This sauce is served with many kinds of desserts, but I like it best with bread pudding and intense chocolate tortes–particularly those with raspberries. You can add a little rum or brandy to this at the end to spike it up a little. But do this strictly to taste–don’t guess. No matter how you wind up using the sauce, it will add a certain classy quality to whatever’s underneath. 1 cup whipping cream 3 Tbs. sugar 4 egg yolks 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract 1. Combine the…

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Coupe Duchesse
Fruit Desserts

Coupe Duchesse

Coupe Duchesse They don’t make coupe princesse or coupe duchesse at Galatoire’s anymore. With good reason: the main ingredients were canned fruit cocktail and canned peaches. How totally kitschy! However, just because restaurant prices cannot be charged for such things anymore doesn’t make them any less good. You can have some added fun (and this is a fun dish, not a serious one) by using other flavors of ice cream than vanilla. And, of course, nobody will stop you if you’d rather use fresh fruit. But remember that these dishes…

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Orange Cheesecake
Desserts

Orange Cheesecake

Orange Cheesecake I learned the basic recipe for this great cheesecake–one which I am forced to make and bring to every family function–from the late Lonnie Knisley. One of the best pastry chefs who ever worked in New Orleans, he made all the desserts at Andrea’s for years. The orange aspect is my wrinkle on it; I have a personal passion for that flavor, and I think it’s especially good in this. The most time-consuming part of making a cheesecake is cooling it. This must be done slowly and gently,…

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Crepes
Crepes And Fondue

Crepes

The big argument about crepes is what utensil to use. A crepe pan–a very shallow skillet–may well be the best. A standard skillet turned upside down works well, if you have a gas stove. The goal is to allow the batter to spread out in a thin layer, then to cook without sticking. The main differences between crepe batter and pancake batter are 1) there’s a lot more egg for the crepes and 2) there’s nothing to make the batter rise. So don’t use self-rising flour. This recipe makes savory crepes. To make sweet crepes, cut back on the salt to 1/4 tsp. and add 2 tsp. sugar. Read More. . .

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Orange-Flavored Raisin-Pecan Cookies
Cakes, Pies, Cheesecakes

Orange-Flavored Raisin-Pecan Cookies

Orange-Flavored Raisin-Pecan Cookies These are very light cookies, both in texture and in the absence of added sugar. The natural sweetness of the orange juice and other ingredients is enough. Use very ripe oranges–or satsumas, which should be available soon. 1/2 cup softened butter, plus one Tbs. 1 egg 2 Tbs. grated orange rind 1/2 cup fresh orange juice 2 cups flour 2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts 1/2 cup golden raisins Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 1. In…

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Pecan Pie
Desserts

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie Here is my current recipe for pecan pie, arrived at after dozens of changes I’ve made over the years to the recipe they used to give out in the 1970s at the Camellia Grill. Mainly, I’ve reduced the amount of sugar, added an extra egg yolk to help the filling set more reliably (that’s the biggest problem most people have with pecan pie), lowered the baking temperature, and toasted the pecans. Enough touches that I wouldn’t call this the Camellia Grill’s pie, if it ever was. Good, though….

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Tiramisu
Cakes, Pies, Cheesecakes

Tiramisu

Tiramisu “Tira mi su” literally means “pick me up” in Italian. That’s what’s alleged to happen when you eat this espresso-doused cake, although I think the sugar contributes more to that effect than the espresso does. It’s a a creation of relatively recent vintage, but it has become universal in Italian restaurants around the world. There are two styles of making it, both authentic. This one uses lady finger cakes, and is served by scooping it out of the pan with a big spoon. It can also be made (using…

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White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Cakes, Pies, Cheesecakes

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting This is a nice taste and is simple to make. It’s good on any basic yellow cake, pound cake, and even between layers of carrot cake or even bread pudding. 4 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese 1/3 cup buttermilk 1 Tbs. sour cream Pinch salt 6 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar 6 oz. white chocolate, melted 1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed with the sour cream until it’s creamy. Add the salt. 2. Add about a third of…

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Mexican Creme Brulee
Desserts: Bread Pudding, Custards

Mexican Creme Brulee

Mexican Creme Brulee Creme brulee appeared in New Orleans in the early 1980s (Arnaud’s served the first one), and over the years it supplanted the once-universal caramel custard. It’s now on almost every non-Asian menu. The difference between creme brulee and caramel custard is that the former is made with cream and has the sugar crusted on top; the latter is made with milk and has sugar caramelized into a syrup at the bottom of the baking cup. Creme brulee must be baked very carefully and slowly, or it will…

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Pecan Pralines
Desserts

Pecan Pralines

Pecan Pralines The trend toward making pralines in flavors like chocolate and pina-colada is interesting, but my favorite flavor of pralines is praline-flavored. When pecans are falling from the trees, it’s fun to make a million of them and keep them for the holiday season. You will be melting sugar here. If that stuff splatters on your skin, it will burn all the way to the bone (or seem to). It is essential to use a candy thermometer to make pralines, because it’s critically important that the temperature of the…

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Riz au Lait (Rice Pudding)
Desserts: Bread Pudding, Custards

Riz au Lait (Rice Pudding)

Riz au Lait (Rice Pudding) This is a dessert found throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in New Orleans (where it’s known by the French name riz au lait). It’s always better than you think it’s going to be. I recommend using short-grain rice, which will absorb more of the sweet liquid and attain a more pudding-like texture. This stuff is pretty good for breakfast, especially with some berries on top. 3/4 cup short grain rice 1 quart whole milk (or half-and-half for a very rich pudding)…

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Apple Meringue Pie

Apple Meringue Pie You see lemon meringue pie and chocolate meringue pie all the time, but I’ll bet you never had this. It grew out of my mother’s bread pudding recipe, which she made with meringue on top instead of a sauce. I thought that went so well with the cinnamon that there might be other possibilities. I was also looking for something to do with the bottle of Drambuie I’ve had for years. (You might try this with other leftover liqueurs.) 1 lb. tart green apples, peeled and cored,…

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Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie The rich, tart pie is named for the funny little limes that grow in the Florida keys. Those are almost impossible to find in stores, but regular limes offer plenty enough sacrifice in the amount of time it takes to juice them out. Remember to wear plastic gloves while juicing limes, as something in the skins will make you feel as if you had toothpicks shoved under your fingernails the day after if you don’t. If you’d like to bake your own pie shell, see the recipe…

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Apple Pandowdy, Fancy Style

Apple Pandowdy, Fancy Style A pandowdy is half apple pie, half apple dumpling. It’s an old recipe, going back to colonial times. This version is gussied up a little at the end by being drizzled with sauce Anglaise–the liquid custard sauce that I find adds a touch of elegance to anything. This is best baked in a glass or ceramic dish. It prevents bottom heat from overcooking the apples, which lie on the bottom without a layer of crust. I have a glass pie dish that works perfectly, but a…

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Blueberry Buckle

Blueberry Buckle The name sounds fun and homestyle. A buckle is a cake made in two layers, with the top one looser than the bottom. When it bakes, the upper layer “buckles.” It’s wonderful cake to go with coffee. We have a few blueberry bushes here at the Cool Water Ranch, and even more wild huckleberry bushes. (Closely related to blueberries, huckleberries are smaller, darker and have a deeper flavor.) I make this using a mixture of both. Huckleberries are almost impossible to find in stores, so I give you…

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Biscuit Tortoni

Biscuit Tortoni The misleading half-French, Half-Italian name disguises a delightful dessert, made popular in New Orleans by Angelo Brocato’s ice cream parlor. A biscuit tortoni is a frozen soufflee with an almond flavor it gets from several directions at once. It was created by an Italian restaurateur in Paris in the 1800s and became famous. It’s more often seen in Italy now. 4 oz. slivered almonds 6 Amaretto di Saronno cookies, or almond macaroons 2/3 cup milk 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 tsp. almond extract 2 Tbs. sweet Marsala (or port,…

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Whiskey Cake

Whiskey Cake This recipe came to me from the makers of Knob Creek Bourbon whiskey, a small-batch bourbon that’s good enough that you might be tempted to have a shot while making the cake (go ahead, but have it over ice cubes, with perhaps a little water–nothing more). The recipe is inspired by a cake made in the Greensboro, Georgia home of the grandmother of Luann Landon, who wrote a book about the dishes served there. It’s called “Dinner At Miss Lady’s,” and it’s published by Algonquin. 1 1/12 cups…

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